Week 18: 14th – 17th June 2016

It has been quite a short but intense week. Major outputs were the submission of the DAAD UA 2016 grant application as well as the submission of the Ethics application.

Outcomes of the ethics can be expected by the end of the month. As for the DAAD and UA application results will be announced by November 2016.

Concurrent I am carrying out my literature review and was able to obtain further “rare” literature. In particular “Play of Man” by Karl Groos 1901 is quite a useful resource:

Literature: The play of man, Karl Groos

Carrying a walking- stick is another playful satisfaction in which the hand’s sensation of contact has a part. P.10

Water affords the delightful sensations of touch; in the bath of course, enjoyment of the movements and temperature is more conspicuous, but the soothing gentleness of the moist element is not to be despised.

As in all specialised pleasures, intensive emotion betrays itself.

Sensation of temperature

The stimulus of heat and cold is conspicuous, as ices and permint, hot grog, spices, and spirits witness. P.14

Sensation of taste




characterised as internal imitative creation. The purest, highest and most spontaneous pleasure is that in which we have no thought for the artist, but yield ourselves whole-heartedly to the beautiful object.


Power of rhythm (p.28)

Enjoyment of melody as a mental fusion of two kinds of association, one is the analogue of pleasing movement in space and the other one is the vocal expression of mental and emotional processes. Together both can create a new entity – an alternative reality.

Schopenhauer: nothing else produces the “idea of movement” in such purity and freedom as tone-beats.

Köstlin Aesthetik, p. 560: “glides, turns, twists, hops, leaps, jumps up and down, dances, bows, sways, climbs, quivers, blusters, and storms, all with equal ease, while in order to reproduce it in the physical world a man would have to dash himself to pieces or in some way become imponderable.”

The magic part of music is that our consciousness repeats, in voluntary and persistently, the varying dance of tones, and feed from all incumbrances, floats blissfully in boundless space p.28 f.

It is a kind of language, which the soul’s deepest emotions seek expression.

There are many points of resemblance between melody and the verbal expression of feelings. P.29

Focus on the enjoyment of melodies rather the origin of music. Thunder sounds like an angry voice. The song of birds provides us clues about their identifiable likeness between their vocal expression of emotion and the songs that call for the most direct response.p. 29 f.

children enjoy rhythm from very early age. Most songs for children originate from grown people and are childish in character and include elements that resonate with children most. p. 39

pleasure in overcoming difficulties is an essential feature of all play. p.39

playful experimentation becomes the mother of invention and of discovery.

On colours

Child display more interest in warmer colours such as red, yellow than colder ones. p.55

Movement as play

Perception of movement by means of the eye alone, and consequently the instinct of keeping absolutely motionless. P. 67

Practice is necessary for the mastery of this capacity. p.68

Fröbel described the pleasure of success which, together with gratification of instinctive impulse, makes learning to walk such a satisfaction. p.82

“As it becomes more mechanical, walking loses its playful character. Pleasure in simple locomotion is experienced by adults, as a rule, only when the discharge of their motor impulses has been hindered by a sedentary life, and even then motion is not the chief source of satisfaction. The regular rhythm of walking acts like a narcotic on an excited mind, which reacts to it unconsciously.” p.82

“exciting movement play which possesses, in common with other narcotics, the magic power of abstracting us from commonplace existence and transporting us to a self-created world of dreams.” p.91

“The simplest effects being a kind of anaesthesia, relaxation of all tension, unconsciousness of fatigue, and the illusion of being free from bodily weight, like a spirit floating about in space.”  p.91

“This illusion in itself productive of great enjoyment, explains our pleasure in such dances as we are considering.” p.91

“The hammock in cases can be considered as the prototype of the swing. The Brazilian Bakairi that the men when at home spend most of their time swinging in hammocks. Greeks has several forms of the swing, among them the joggling board, consisting of a flexible plank supported at its ends on fixed beams, and the ropes swing which with its comfortable seat supported by four cords was used by adults.”p.93

“In Athens celebrates an special holiday called after the swing. Pleasure in riding and driving being partly due to the control we have over the horses, such enjoyment is a combination of active and passive. Even when we are steering a boat the illusion is easily supported that we are to some extend responsible for its progress. Riding has other elements of attraction: besides the forward motion and lofty seat there is some peculiar enjoyment of each particular gait.” p. 94

Otto “Lilienthal recalls his experience of gliding through the air in a slanting direction affords a new and delightful sensation.”p. 94

6 different groups of movement play resulting from impulse (p.95):

  1. Mere “hustling”things about
  2. destructive or analytical play
  3. constructive or synthetic play
  4. plays of endurance
  5. throwing plays
  6. catching plays.

to 1. Exemplar cases: tearing paper, pleasure in shaking a well-fitted purse, turning handle on a coffee mill, pulling out drawers, handling smooth sand and clay.

Provides instance joy –> conspicuous in all play of this class

All connected with senses –> seeing, hearing, tactile play, desire for sensory excitement p.96 f.

To 2. Handling of external objects (toys) p. 97 f.

To 3. Constructive (synthetic) movement- play: similar to analytic play bears to the fighting instinct. p.99

This includes collecting things, or combative emulative spirit which is active in almost all play.p.101

To 4.



Schiller called play “aimless expenditure of exuberant strength, which is its own excuse for action. P.362


Herbert Spence characterised play in his work “Principles of Psychology” as a first attempted a scientific formulation of the theory, “nerve processes, that the superfluous integration of ganglion cells should be accompanied by an inherited readiness to discharge. As a result of the advanced development of man and the higher animals they have, first, more force than is needed in the struggle for existence; and second, are able to allow some of their powers longer periods of rest while others are being exercised, and thus results the aimless activity which we call play, and which is agreeable to the individual producing it.” p. 362

Its is a question about the origin of special forms of play must be answered.

Not imitation, but the life of impulse and instinct alone can make special forms of play comprehensible to us.

“The surplus energy theory assumes in the higher forms of life a series of inborn impulses for whose serious activity there is often for a longer time no opportunity of discharge, with the result that a reserve of exuberant strength collects forth an ideal satisfaction of the impulse, or play.” P. 363


“When we are tired of mental or physical labour and still do not wish to sleep or rest, we gladly welcome the active recreation afforded by play.” P. 364


Play can transcend its limits p. 364

“play is often begun in the absence of superabundant energy.” P.366

In our busy life, occupied as it is with the struggle for existence, we see substantial aims before us which we wish to realize as soon as possible, but we realize its power when a man steps aside from his strenuous business life.” P.366


Play is a distraction form the commonplace world. P.367

Play is repetition “endless delight putting rubber on a pencil and off again, each act being a new stimulus to the eye.” P.367

He concludes that “this impulse toward repetition is doubtless the physiological reason for carrying on play to the utmost limit of strength. The second point to be noticed is the trance-like state resulting from such repetition of some movements, and something with the added influence of rhythm.” P.367 f.

Groos concluded that “adult play must be considered from a biological standpoint. That the grown man long plays after he has outgrown the childish stimuli to play has been sufficiently shown” p. 378

movements, fighting, social play in adulthood is indispensable. artistic enjoyment is the highest and most valuable form of adult play. p.378 f.

Art is the capacity possessed by men of furnishing themselves and others with pleasure based on conscious, self-illusion which, by widening and deepening human perception and emotion, tends to preserve and improve the race.” p.379

Groos stresses further: “Play of adults has a still mote specialized significance, since, as it would be essential to a well-rounded culture, its office as preserver of hereditary race capacities.” p.379

Even the noble gift of imagination may from overindulgence degenerate into a deadly poison. p. 406









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